How Successful People Unplug

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For accountants, stepping away from work to relax and recharge can seem like an impossible task. Indeed, in any profession, high achievers may be tempted to keep working in the evenings, over the weekend, and even while on vacation. Since smartphones, tablets, and work-issued laptops make it easier to work remotely than ever before, unplugging can seem like an unwise choice for workers who want to get ahead.

An accountant unplugs in nature.

However, accounting executives and high-earning professionals in a variety of fields know that taking meaningful breaks from work is one of the keys to success. Learn how successful people unplug and discover why taking breaks are so important to building a rewarding career:

Schedule Downtime in Advance

For some successful professionals, planning time away from the office simply never becomes a priority, especially when the steady stream of work never slows down. Though this may be true for accountants, entry-level employees and executive accountants alike can often anticipate their workload throughout the year due to the seasonal nature of the business. Many certified public accountants (CPAs) can expect their heaviest workloads to appear during tax season, while corporate accountants can anticipate stacks of paperwork and countless conference calls around their clients’ financial year-end periods.

Unplugging during these busy times may never truly be an option for accountants, but professionals in this field can plan downtime during less busy periods instead. By setting aside time for long weekends or extended vacations months in advance, successful professionals can increase the chance that they will actually take time off. Advance planning also enables busy professionals to inform clients about time away, work ahead of schedule if necessary, or even delegate tasks to colleagues in order to address potential issues proactively.

Set Appropriate Expectations

Many successful workers regularly take work home, which means that they rarely unplug during a typical workweek. If colleagues and clients generally receive instant responses to emails, texts, or calls, no matter the hour, then they will continue to expect communication during a long weekend or a week away.

Accountants and other successful professionals can temper those expectations by establishing boundaries before leaving for vacation. The specifics of those boundaries will vary among professionals, who may strive to unplug completely or check messages just once a day. No matter what they deem appropriate, professional workers should communicate those boundaries clearly, even following up with automatic reminders to those who text or email. Workers should also outline what constitutes an emergency and discuss what colleagues should do when urgent matters arise.

As Michael Kerr explains in Business Insider, busy professionals should not stop at merely expecting colleagues and clients to respect boundaries. They should also establish boundaries for themselves, which may mean setting technology guidelines. For example, accountants who frequently reach for their smartphones or laptops, only to find themselves checking work email or responding to client requests, should prohibit themselves from using technology outside of designated times.

Decide to Do Nothing

Some of the most successful professionals in any industry thrive on setting goals and achieving or exceeding objectives. When enjoying a long weekend or a vacation with family and friends, however, setting goals is not always a reasonable approach.

In Business Insider, Lynn Taylor recommends setting deadlines and expectations aside in favor of doing nothing. As she explains, having long blocks of unscheduled time can be an excellent way for high-achieving professionals to unwind and recharge.

For some professionals, simply agreeing to spend time with family and friends instead of alone in the office can be a positive step in the right direction. Taylor recommends setting aside a three-day weekend for true family time, as just one day off may not be enough to set aside work-related stress and enjoy time away with loved ones. Leaving time for meditation can also prove beneficial, as Gina Belli writes for Payscale, as allowing for mindfulness can help busy professionals achieve better focus and greater purpose later on.

Plan Short Getaways

Whether it is a weeklong spring break, a long holiday weekend, or a two-week summer vacation, many experts recommend keeping vacation plans relatively simple. In Business Insider, Kerr recommends that busy professionals plan staycations rather than elaborate, expensive getaways. Enjoying free time at home allows for a much-needed mental break without the stress that often accompanies trip planning and travel.

In Business Insider, Taylor extolls the benefits of simply getting outside. Spending time in nature can be restorative and low-stress, which provides successful people with the break they need from work or school. Taking a short hike, going for a swim, or enjoying a bike ride also helps students and professionals stay fit, which enhances both physical and mental health.

Ease Back into a Normal Schedule

Successfully transitioning from a vacation back to the office is just as important as enjoying time off. Writing for AccountingWEB, Jeff Davidson recommends avoiding the temptation to overindulge on the last day of vacation. Though planning a long day or a late night with family and friends may sound enjoyable, doing so can result in exhaustion and poor performance the next day. Instead, students and professionals alike should plan to end their time off with plenty of sleep, even going so far as to get an early start on the first day back.

In Forbes, Avery Blank recommends spending the first day after a vacation in relative isolation. Responding to emails, returning phone calls, and determining a to-do list for the rest of the week can help successful people ease back into a normal schedule and look forward to the next opportunity to take time off.

For many of the top professionals in accounting, the road to success continues with earning an accounting master’s degree online. Visit Maryville University to learn how the Online Master of Science in Accounting program could be the next step toward a successful career in the financial industry.

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